It probably comes as no surprise to those reading this that a law firm who practices estate planning would respond with “everyone,” but there are good reasons for this response. The main reason a person creates a will is so that on his or her death, certain “things” are distributed according to his or her wishes. In fact, in a properly drafted will, there will be specific instructions for the distribution of every single “thing” the decedent owned. In the event someone passes away without making a will, the decedent’s “things” are distributed according to Ohio intestacy laws. These laws can be quite complex, and depending on the family structure of the decedent, the beneficiaries of the decedent’s “things” must be determined on a case-by-case basis. To avoid Ohio’s intestacy laws determining which family members get certain “things” upon your passing, it’s a good idea to make a will.
With the help of an experienced attorney, drafting a will is not difficult. The attorney will guide you through a flowchart of decisions that should be made to plan for as many contingencies as possible, and once those decisions are made it will be memorialized on a document and executed as required by Ohio law. The HARDEST part in this process is the decision making for the client. In some instances it might be very straightforward:
Example: Husband and Wife leave everything to the survivor of them, and they name their children as contingent beneficiaries in the event something happens to both Husband and Wife simultaneously.
However, there are still difficult decisions that must be made in the above scenario. For example, if the children are still minors, who would take care of them, in the event both parents pass away? Who will handle their financial accounts? Are the children mature enough to come into all of the assets at 18?
Perhaps the above example is a blended family where Husband and/or Wife have children from a prior relationship. Would the asset distribution look different if Husband were to pass away before Wife or vice versa?
Simply having children is a great reason to have a will made. Deciding who will take care of the children and who will handle their financial accounts if both parents pass away is not an easy decision, but it’s certainly in the children’s best interest for the parents to make this decision in their wills rather than broken-hearted family members trying to sort out arrangements for the children with no instructions from the parents. These matters are highly emotional, and in some unfortunate situations lead to court battles over custody with the children caught in the middle.
These are the types of decisions that are understandably difficult. However, the decision to make a will should not be. Nobody enjoys thinking about his or her own death; however, the peace of mind that making a will provides is invaluable. Whether your assets are very large, yet to be acquired, or very little, the reasons to create a will are plenty.